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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 9464591, 16 pages
Review Article

Epigenetic Research of Neurodegenerative Disorders Using Patient iPSC-Based Models

1Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Disorders, Department of Clinical and Experimental Neurology, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), University of Barcelona (UB), 08036 Barcelona, Spain
2Centre for Networked Biomedical Research in Neurodegenerative Disorders (CIBERNED), 28031 Madrid, Spain
3Cell Therapy Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona (UB), 08036 Barcelona, Spain

Received 17 April 2015; Accepted 18 June 2015

Academic Editor: Giuseppina Caretti

Copyright © 2016 Rubén Fernández-Santiago and Mario Ezquerra. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epigenetic mechanisms play a role in human disease but their involvement in pathologies from the central nervous system has been hampered by the complexity of the brain together with its unique cellular architecture and diversity. Until recently, disease targeted neural types were only available as postmortem materials after many years of disease evolution. Current in vitro systems of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated by cell reprogramming of somatic cells from patients have provided valuable disease models recapitulating key pathological molecular events. Yet whether cell reprogramming on itself implies a truly epigenetic reprogramming, the epigenetic mechanisms governing this process are only partially understood. Moreover, elucidating epigenetic regulation using patient-specific iPSC-derived neural models is expected to have a great impact to unravel the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases and to hopefully expand future therapeutic possibilities. Here we will critically review current knowledge of epigenetic involvement in neurodegenerative disorders focusing on the potential of iPSCs as a promising tool for epigenetic research of these diseases.